In some ways, everything we learn in school is in preparation of one potentially life-changing event. The courses we are taking, the practicum experiences all lead to one event, and that is the job interview. The job interview serves as the time and place where the knowledge and experience we’ve gained over the past several months can now be applied. But first, our education, work experiences and who we are as a person may be scrutinized by an employer.
I’ve had a few job interviews. I remember one job interview where the atmosphere was so positive and laid back. The managers who interviewed me joked around the whole time and made me feel very comfortable. I remember another job interview where I felt like I was being interrogated or perhaps a lie-detector was on me because the questions were so serious and philosophical and this was for an entry level manual labor job!
But I’ve never had an interview for a position for a job that I really wanted, until now. I’ve done a lot of different vocations over the years. In short, they were a means to an end. But now, things are different. I’m in school learning to be a professional in a field that is making positive contributions to individuals in our community and I feel incredibly lucky for the opportunities that await after I graduate.
But before I start working as a community support worker, I have to pass the job interview.
Luckily we have a course at school that prepares us very well for this. During this course we learned how to write a resume, a cover letter and we’ve even held mock interviews in class.
I thoroughly enjoyed our mock interviews because it simulates what we can expect in our job interviews in the field of community support work and this is the type of preparation we need.
We were asked to dress in “job-interview attire” which is good because it’s always fun to dress up and look your best every once in a while. We were then interviewed one by one with some very specific questions based on our resume, our cover letter, and on our personality and fit for community support work.
We were then graded on criteria like our attire, the firmness of our handshake, our level of confidence, body posture, body language and of course the answers we provided during the interview.
I wasn’t really sure of what to expect before the interview, but I was pleasantly surprised at how challenging the job interview was. I’m not sure how others feel, but I don’t normally reflect on my strengths and weaknesses as an employee, nor do I think of what makes me unique. At first thought it would be easy to answer a question like “Why should we hire you?” but unless you’ve thought of the question beforehand, you might run into the danger of rambling on and repeating yourself too much due to a lack of preparedness.
Overall I’m very thankful we had the experience of updating our resumes, cover letters and having mock job interviews as part of our course. I’m much better prepared for the day I have to sit across the table from a potential employer and answer why they should hire me as a community support worker.